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It’s the reason we (sort of) like winter. Why we anxiously check the weather for precipitation. Why we itch for the weekend (among other reasons). Pull out your parkas and woolen socks; it’s ski season!
We’ve rounded up a slew of excellent resorts just a few hours’ drive from The District. Whether it’s day trips, evening outings, or weekend getaways — get ready for that brisk mountain air. We’ll have you atop the slopes in no time!
Just an hour and a half from DC, Liberty Mountain Resort in Pennsylvania is one of the closest resorts to The District. The resort’s 16 trails and three terrain parks offer a range of difficulty to suit your skill level (whether you’re pizza or french fry). And since all trails are lit for night skiing, this resort is great for hitting the slopes in the evening after work, or making a short day trip from the city on the weekend.
Looking for more boost for your buck? Whitetail Resort in Pennsylvania is the highest mountain within a two-hour drive of the city. Eight lifts will carry you up and down 25 different trails, with a maximum drop of 935 feet. The resort has full snow-making ability, and daily snow condition reports ensure you can choose the best weather for your outing. A day trip is ideal for exploring the ins and outs of this mountain, and lighted trails make sure you don’t have to go in when the sun goes down. Fitt Tip: dip into one of the resort’s restaurants for a hot dinner before heading home!
With an 1,100-foot vertical drop and 14 trails, this resort in Virginia will keep you flying through snow all day long. But don’t limit your adventures just to skiing — the mountain offers tubing, a terrain park for snowboarders, and a spacious indoor ice skating rink. When all that icy exercise has worn you out, head over to the indoor waterpark where you can soak up all the warmth in a hot tub, or relax at the resort’s spa.
Pack your bags for a weekend getaway. This cozy resort, just three hours away in the Blue Ridge Mountains, VA, has all you need for a winter retreat. Warm up on the easy Lower Dobie Trail before hitting some of the harder slopes like Outer Limits (difficult). If you’re really good—and maybe just a little crazy—we’ll prescribe you the Lower Cliffhanger (expert). When your toes tell you it’s time, get to the spa to recoup, or relax in the lodge with a warm blanket and hot chocolate before getting more snow time in the morning.
With long, gently inclined trails as well as multiple “slow zones”, Wisp Resort is a great place to warm up at the beginning of the season. Or, you can learn the basics if you’re new to skiing (they’ve got a great bunny hill). But don’t worry about getting bored. This resort in Western Maryland has 34 slopes ranging up to black diamonds — so you’ll get that adrenaline kick you’re after.
This mountain goes back to basics: lifts, mountain, rentals. And that’s pretty much it. Where this place does rack up points is height and speed. With a 1,000-foot vertical incline of packed-down trails—most going straight down from top to bottom—this resort offers the ideal conditions for skilled skiers looking to really fly. Pack up for the weekend, too — the roughly 4.5 hours of driving to Pennsylvania is worth it!
If you’re a skier who actually wants to snowboard, head to Seven Springs in Pennsylvania. The parks and pipes are some of the top-rated in the East — you’ll have seven (that’s right, seven!) different terrain parks to finally huck that 360. Looking to slip in some skiing as well? No worries — the park also has 33 slopes and trails to keep you busy. Fitt Tip: stay on North Face once the crowds arrive.
For avid skiers looking for thrilling challenges to test their ability, this resort offers seven blacks as well as seven double blacks. It’s hard to get lost, too. Skiers converge at the Summit Lodge at the top of the mountain and choose their paths down the mountain to various landing places. Blue Knob also offers 10 kilometers of Pennsylvanian terrain for cross-country skiers looking to explore the frontier.
This one is too big to miss (literally). Snowshoe Mountain Resort in West Virginia is the largest ski resort in the region. The winter wonderland boasts 257 acres with 60 trails, a 1,500-foot drop, and five terrain parks. You’ll probably want to stay overnight at this place — we don’t think one day will satisfy you! Luckily, the resort offers plenty of lodging right by the mountain so you can beat the crowds in the morning!
**Updated by Beth Copenhaver, November 2018
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